Symbolic of her grassroots brand of leadership, Naga City along with many parts of Bicol Region on Tuesday turned pink for presidential candidate Leni Robredo as she officially kicked off her campaign for this year's elections, offering much-needed support for her biggest and hardest battle yet.
Like her 2016 vice presidential bid, the 56-year-old is the lone female candidate in this year's presidential race, in rematch with the extremely popular late dictator son, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., and seven other men.
For her to become the country's third woman president, Robredo is drawing as much strength she could from her old constituency who's been with her through her many trials in life—including the death of her husband and beloved city Mayor Jesse, her dynasty-ending entry to politics, and her unexpected rise to the vice presidency in 2016.
"'Dito ko sa Naga nakita na ang luma at bulok na klase at pulitika kayang talunin ng matino, mahusay, masipag at makataon paniniwala. Dito nagtiwala ang tao sa lider na nakiisa sa kanya, nakikipila, nakikiramay sa sapalaran, namumuhay nang simple gaya niya," Robredo told the crowd at the grand rally at Plaza Quezon, wrapping up an eventful first day in her campaign trail that she started opening the Angat Buhay Village in Lupi, Camarines Sur, which her office built for displaced victims of Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses.
Afterwards, Robredo attended several mini rallies in the towns of Libmanan and Tigaon, then Iriga City, before returning to Naga to attend Mass and the day's culminating event.
Addressing fellow Bicolanos in their native language, Robredo endorsed her runningmate, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, for Vice President, as well as the several senatorial candidates and "guest candidates" under her ticket.
"Hindi ako kinakabahan dahil nang tinawag ko kayo na gisingin ang natutulog pang lakas, buong-buo ang naging tugon niyo. Tumutulong kayo sa nangangailangan, pinapakain ang nagugutom, nagbibigay lingap sa nasalanta at may sakit, nakinig sa kuwento ng bagong Pilipinong dumadaing at naghahanap ng kasangga sa kanilang mga suliranin. Panatag ang loob ko dahil nakikita kong magkakahanay ang paniniwala nating mga Pilipino," Robredo said.
"Dito tayo tatayo, dito tayo titindig. Kaya ihanda natin ang ating mga bisig dahil tinitiyak ko, walang kayang tumumbas si pinagbigkis nating lakas. Kaya, tara na. Ipanalo na natin ito," she added.
As the lone presidential candidate from the region, Robredo is working to secure a "Solid Bicol" vote, which, as of 2019, makes up 3.6 million or 5.9% of the country's voting population.
The leading figure of opposition groups, Robredo said she is offering to bring back good governance to the country, believing that an honest government is key to making the lives Filipinos better after being hard-hit by the pandemic.
Robredo on the eve of her presidential campaign adopted the flower rose as her campaign symbol, complimenting the color pink that spontaneously became her campaign color, dictated by the groundswell of public support she received upon announcing her bid.
On social media, the slogan, "Rosas ang Kulay ng Bukas" has been trending since Monday, as Robredo's supporters all over the country expressed their confidence in her leadership.